Pakistan to hold largest exercise in a decade


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The games are being held for the first time in a decade.

Highmark 2005 will feature US-built F-16s in air-superiority roles in both offensive and defensive operations, French Mirages and Chinese A-5s in ground support roles, and Chinese F-7P/PGs in an air defence role.

The just-inducted JF-17 Thunder that has been jointly developed by Pakistan and China will not be participating in the exercise as it is still in the test and trial phases.

"Air operations in Highmark will be harmonised with land and naval operations to test (the Pakistan armed forces') new doctrine amidst changed regional and global realities," The News Friday quoted PAF deputy chief, Air Vice Marshal Shahzad Aslam Chaudhry, as saying.

The PAF last conducted a similar exercise in 1995. Since then, they have been thrice put off - after India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in 1998, 9/11 and the 10-month-long standoff in the wake of the December 2001 attack on the Indian parliament.

Chaudhry, who has been involved in planning the exercise for the last two years, said the PAF has upgraded its aircraft, avionics, weapon systems, radars and these, along with manpower skills, would be put on test during Highmark 2005, which would stretch from the Northern Areas to Sindh in the south.